Let’s talk about loyalty. It’s one of those intangible traits that can have a profound impact on a group or organization. Technically, it is defined as giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution. At times, loyalty implies sticking with a person, an organization, or a job, even when things start to go south. Admittedly, I have stayed at a job or in a volunteer position longer than I should have, passing up opportunities that were in my own self-interest along the way. At times, I have been loyal to a fault. I’m not going to talk any of you into abandoning your loyal behaviors. Things such as being a “loyal friend,” a “loyal fan,” and “loyal to your country” are undoubtedly admirable traits. What I want to do instead is make you think about whether or not loyalty in the workplace is getting in the way of progress in your career.
For many of us, the way we think about the workplace needs some adjustment. There are absolutely parallels between what takes place in the workplace and what takes place on a team. I happen to believe that chemistry within a working team is essential to success in the workplace. We cannot forget that the workplace is first and foremost a working environment, and you are there as part of a mutual business decision. It is not a one way street. At the end of the day organizations make personnel decisions based on what is best for business, not loyalty. Loyalty may be part of a business decision, but you better believe that the George Washingtons are the biggest part of the decision.
Loyalty carries the expectation that you will be rewarded for this allegiance, and in some cases that is absolutely true. However; too often, men and women, specifically women will confuse loyalty with an emotional connection in the workplace. This can lead to loyalty, which is normally thought of as a virtue, becoming the roadblock to your success in the workplace.
There is an emotional connection that can develop in the office that blurs the lines of the professional connection you have with your work colleagues. You’ve got to recognize when your commitment to your company or organization prevents you from taking the next step in your career. This can turn that loyalty that you previously had into resentment in the long-term.
Out of a seven day week, you will spend on average just under two full days asleep, a little less than half a day commuting, 2.9 days doing your own thing, and a little over two days at your place of work. Of the five days you are awake during the week, approximately 42% of that is spent working. Be sure that your personal loyalties don’t get in the way of putting yourself in a work environment that will lead to the most success possible, however you may define it.